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Choosing to grow your family through surrogacy involves the expertise of many professionals, including fertility specialists, lawyers, psychologists, and social workers. There is also, of course, the cost of a surrogate along with fees for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures, such as in vitro fertilization and, in some cases, egg donation. Having a solid team of professionals to help you navigate this complex process and an experienced agency to coordinate the journey all contribute to the cost of surrogacy.
Each surrogacy case is unique, and the total cost depends on several factors. It’s important to note that these costs don’t include the price of IVF, which intended parents pay directly to their clinic. In general, you'll find that surrogacy costs can range from around $80,000 to upwards of $200,000.
Fees for a surrogate agency range from $20,000 to $40,000, depending on the services included. Fees paid to a full-service agency typically include screening potential surrogates, matching intended parents with a surrogate, coordinating the various surrogacy professionals involved in the journey, travel arrangements for the gestational carrier, and overall support throughout the entire surrogacy journey.
Working with an experienced surrogacy agency provides intended parents peace of mind, giving them the security and confidence of knowing that experienced professionals are managing their journey for them and navigating situations or challenges that may occur during the process.
Fees paid to a full-service agency cover the cost of tasks such as:
Take a deeper dive into what’s covered by a surrogacy agency fee in this blog post.
Screening potential surrogates is a vital step that helps ensure intended parents are matched with healthy and committed surrogate mothers who can successfully carry a baby to term.
The cost of screening is often included in the agency fees for a full-service agency. If paid separately, the cost can be up to $4,000. All surrogates should be screened medically, psychologically, and emotionally to ensure they are ready for the commitment, have a positive support system, and understand what the process involves.
The screening process involves the following:
Pre-screening: This includes checking an applicant’s pregnancy history and medical records, performing criminal and financial background checks, and compiling information about health insurance.
Social work screening: Social workers discuss a wide range of topics with the applicant, including her motivation, family and interpersonal relationships, expectations for the surrogacy journey, views on termination and selective reduction, and who’s part of her support network.
Psychological exam: Each surrogate applicant must complete psychological testing through the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI), which a licensed psychologist interprets.
The total cost of a surrogate ranges from $50,000 to $60,000, which includes base compensation and various benefits and expenses. The surrogate cost is a significant portion of intended parents’ surrogacy expenses.
The total cost of a surrogate, including base compensation, can range from $50,000 to $90,000. Those costs include:
Base compensation: $30,000-$40,000 ($40,000-$45,000 for California surrogates); experienced surrogates can earn an additional $5,000+ for each surrogacy journey.
Personal and home care payments: Monthly payments for surrogate spending, maternity clothes, and housekeeping.
Child care, travel, and lost wages: Includes travel for screening and embryo transfer, mileage reimbursement, cost of child care or lost wages, and the lost wages of the surrogate’s travel companion.
Fourth-trimester (post-birth) care: Flex spending, lost wages or child care during recovery, meals, reimbursement for breast pumping supplies, and payments for breast milk pumping.
Other costs may be incurred in specific cases, such as if bed rest is needed, if the pregnancy includes multiples, or if a C-section is necessary.
Learn more about how much a surrogate makes.
The surrogacy process is complex and requires lawyers with the expertise to accurately interpret an evolving area of law that varies from state to state—or even county to county or judge to judge. A lawyer helps hopeful parents navigate their state laws (or country laws) as well as the carrier’s state laws.
Legal fees typically range from $3,000 to $15,000. Not all agency’s include them in their fees and intended parents should review what’s covered by each agency in their fees. Legal fees are part of Circle Surrogacy’s fee.
Situations that involve lawyers during the surrogacy journey include:
Drafting the Carrier Agreement: This is the legal contract between intended parents and surrogates, which spells out the rights and responsibilities of each party.
Egg Donor Agreement: This contract provides intended parents with the control of all eggs retrieved from the donor, as well as any resulting embryos.
Establishing Parental Rights: Depending on the state’s surrogacy laws, lawyers for intended parents obtain pre-birth or post-birth court orders that ensure the intended parents are the sole parents of the child. Other considerations that may require legal representation include ensuring that birth certificates reflect proper parentage and that intended parents enjoy all parental rights under state law.
Intended parents are responsible for the surrogate’s medical expenses and pay for maternity insurance that covers all pregnancy-related appointments and medical care. After the birth, the baby immediately becomes covered by the intended parents’ insurance.
The cost of health insurance for the surrogate varies depending on the policy. Intended parents also purchase life insurance for their surrogate, generally for coverage of $250,000. This includes complications insurance for the carrier.
Intended parents may choose to pursue surrogacy without an agency’s assistance, saving between $20,000 and $40,000. All other costs associated with a surrogacy journey remain. Without an agency managing the process, however, surrogacy requires an extensive time commitment for the intended parents. Coordinating and communicating with IVF clinics, local monitoring clinics, and hospitals—details otherwise managed by an agency—are now the intended parents’ responsibility.
You will also need to hire a lawyer or lawyers to handle all the legal matters involved in the surrogacy process.
Intended parents who live outside the U.S. often pursue surrogacy using U.S.-based agencies. An agency may charge the IPs the same fee paid by domestic intended parents or an additional fee. Travel requirements increase the total cost of surrogacy for intended parents who live in another country. This can include at least 2 trips—one to the IVF clinic when embryos are created and a second trip for the baby's birth.
An extended stay in the U.S. may be necessary after the baby’s birth while obtaining the child’s passport—a process that can last a month or more. Of course, intended parents may choose to visit their surrogate additional times during the pregnancy at certain milestones, such as the embryo transfer, and should plan to cover those travel costs as well.
Surrogacy only: $157,750
Surrogacy plus egg donation: $184,750
(both prices exclude IVF)